Back in October 1925, a Scot by the name of John Logie Baird successfully transmitted the first television image – a 30 vertical line picture of a ventriloquist’s dummy stuttering along at five frames per second – and completely changed the world.
By January of 1926, when Baird had his first public display of his revolutionary broadcasting technology he’d managed to refine it to 12.5 frames per second.
Unlike today’s televisions, Baird’s invention – known as the Televisor – was a mechanical device. The 30 lines of vertical resolution was just high-res enough to make out a human face in greyscale. It used a device known as a Nipkow disc to create a each of the scanlines – each image is projected onto the spinning disc, which has holes placed at different distances from the center (yet equally angled) to create the vertical lines of resolution.
Over the next few years, Baird introduced colour, VHF wireless transmission, plus some of the world’s first long-distance broadcasts. As technology developed, his mechanical version was superceded by electronic machines, Baird was still influential in its development, giving the first demonstration of a fully electronic colour picture tube in 1944.
For someone who played such a huge part in developing the technology for the television we all know and love today, you kind of feel bummed for the guy – The Logies aren’t exactly the most prestigious awards to have named after your brilliance, after all…